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“Disappointing”
Review of Niyagama House

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Niyagama House
Ranked #4 of 24 Hotels in Galle
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 22 April 2014

This was a very disappointing stay. The room was tiny, and the service was very poor. If you are expecting luxury, do not stay here! The food was not of a good quality (we were served Kraft Singles plastic cheese at breakfast), and the staff were quite rude. We had an oil massage during our stay (which was in a small dark room). After the massage we showered using the towels provided, and the hotel claimed we had left oil stains on the towels and that we had to pay to replace them! Absolute madness. They wouldn't let us leave the hotel until we paid for the towels. Honestly the worst service I have received anywhere in Asia. Apart from the lovely pool, there is really no reason to stay at this hotel. Stay somewhere else.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Matt L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NiyagamaHouse, Owner at Niyagama House, responded to this reviewResponded 9 May 2014

Dear Matt,

first of all: thank you very much for the good advice concerning the cheese. This was already on my To-Do-List and now we offer fresh cut slices from a tasty block cheese, made in Sri Lanka.

Now to the size of the room and massage room: You are a really tall guy, so I can understand your impression. But we have photos of our rooms on our website (even with square feet information), so you should have booked a bigger room that matches your impressive stature. And when I have a massage, my eyes are almost the whole time closed ;-). But: the posh Spa Bungalow will hopefully be under construction soon.

Now to the massage towels: as English is your mother language I was really wondering that you did not understand, what you signed on your Spa voucher. Green oil = please use green towels and not the whites ones. Is that so difficult? And please: in the end you did not pay a single rupee for destroying several white towels. We just gave in to your not-understanding...

In the end I am happy for a bad review, so that interested people don't think that we pay for all the good ones :-)))!

May your future travels be full of huge rooms. All the best,
Elke

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131 - 137 of 242 reviews

Reviewed 13 April 2014 via mobile

This is a beautiful hotel, a real retreat in the hills with a beautiful pool, a well designed and luxury house and gorgeous rooms. The food was good and breakfast (included) was generous. We did the free meditation and bought some yoga classes which were excellent. We also took the free walk around the hotel grounds and saw the tea puckers and lovely fruit trees. We loved it here and didn't want to leave at the end. Elka and the rest of the team were really lovely.

Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
Thank KJLvsWorld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NiyagamaHouse, Owner at Niyagama House, responded to this reviewResponded 10 May 2014

Dear K, dear J,

big hug and a huge THANK YOU for your wonderful review! You light up my day and I will print it out for the rest of the crew. Keep up your great yoga! I am hopefully in S. soon to check out all the studios that you can choose from ;-).

All the best for your future,
Elke

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Reviewed 1 April 2014

We found Niyagama House by accident really, we were due to go up to Kandy and decided spur of the moment to change our plans and travel to Galle instead, so the morning of our departure we got onto our ipad - googled Galle - and found Niyagama House. It scored highly on all the sites, however one is always still a little wary. We need not have feared, as immediately upon arrival, we knew we'd hit jackpot! I won't repeat all the lovely sentiments already written, but we reiterate that this retreat is not to be missed, Elke and her amazing team have this little serene haven working it's magic for all their guests. Since our return to Bath, we feel like we're the marketing team for this property, telling everyone, if they need a treat, then take themselves off to Sri Lanka and be sure to check into Niyagama House!!

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Parkingfairy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 March 2014

There is not much need to add more to the reviews already on here, other than to back them all up!
We had two nights here, after a fantastic (but quite hectic) tour of Sri Lanka. Arriving here was like balm to the soul - from crowded, noisy streets to the quiet and calm of the plantation - heaven. The knots began to unravel even before the 90 minute Ayurvedic massage.
By day 2, I was so relaxed that I almost fell asleep in the morning meditation class - I finally opening my eyes to find that everyone else had tiptoed away!
The pool is breathtaking - Elke designed it herself - and it is big enough to have a proper swim in, the water clear and un-tainted by chlorine. At dusk you can watch the kingfishers having a dip.
We stayed in Sapphire - a large corner room with two double four-poster beds (I was travelling with a friend). Waking up to the sounds of the jungle was magical.
Superb food, lovely staff, stunning architecture - really, cannot rave about this place enough!

Room Tip: Ours was perfect for two friends sharing - but I would imagine they are all pretty special
See more room tips
  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with friends
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1  Thank DW67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 February 2014

My husband and I stayed here 4 nights on a 'no kids getaway'. We arrived at 11pm and as requested Elke had arranged for us to be collected from the airport by her friendly father in law (we later discovered) and a very good young driver. The drive was 2 hours using the expressway.

Actually, I should start with the fact that I pestered Elke by email numerous times as we had some flight complications, she was very patient, professional and friendly. So my very first impression of Niyagama House was very positive and it only improved in person.

We stayed in the Topaz Room with a lovely balcony which is just as pictured on their website. The house was designed by former architect/dancer proprietor Elke and is gorgeous. The grounds are stunning. The vaulted ceilings, while wonderful to look at, do allow sound to travel and we could hear voices in the next room. When I mentioned this to Elke she said that glass has been put in the previous open woodwork and air conditioning has been installed, so maybe use your air conditioner to offset any unwanted noise. Although, while chatting to other guests they didn't have any issue with noise from their neighbors so we either had loud neighbors or it was that particular room. Sounds of nature infiltrated our room too but I didn't have a problem with that nor with the room having rattan blinds that allowed the first rays of light to enter the room (husband did however) - I was on a semi retreat anyway so that was part of the deal - early rise and off to yoga!

My husband had never done yoga before while I have been practicing for years. We both took Elke's 7:30am classes for 3 consecutive mornings. The classes are 1.5 hours long and held in a lovely room with open windows overlooking the estate. I was happy to discover that Elke is perfectly capable in guiding all levels in the practice of yoga.

In addition to morning yoga we booked a number of activities and can comment on the following:

Ayurvedic massage - booked 2, the second was modified as per request (that's the great thing about this place, Elke is happy to do what she can to cater to you personally).

Bike ride to the beach - we chose to go to Wijaya Beach to watch the sunset and Niyagama was happy to modify their pick up place if we decided to go to Unawatuna Beach for dinner afterwards, which we did do. The bike ride is a 1.5 scheduled tour with a biking guide while your stuff is taken to the destination point to meet you, the bikes are collected and you are driven back to the house when you are ready. We could have done the ride in less time as it was slow but along the way we were shown pepper trees, tea leaves and various other flora and fauna, learned quite a bit. The bar at Wijaya was a perfect spot to watch the sunset and the restaurant that Elke recommended in Unawatuna offered a selection of fresh fish, prawns and lobster - perfection.

Tea tour - went in a tuk tuk to to the famous virgin white tea estate Handunugoda. We'll worth a visit

Galle - 20 mims in a tuk tuk. Easy.

In the interest of being Eco friendly our towels looked like they would not be changed for the entire stay but on the 3rd day I left one bath towel on the floor so that it could be changed. Elke advised that it is usually done every 3 days but my husband's towel wasn't changed at all (not a big deal).

The food choices were excellent and for breakfast you have a choice of eggs (prepared any way) or the changed daily Sri Lankan breakfast, along with other fixed choices on the menu. We mainly chose local and the dhal was my favorite (throughout the entire 8 night trip actually!). Don't expect to rush through breakfast, the polite and attentive staff do a fantastic job but this isn't a speedy process.

The highlight and golden crown of this property is the amazing fresh water infinity pool. The area is so relaxing and inviting that you really don't want to leave it, really. They also have their own well so their water is as pure as you can get. Wonderful.

Overall, a fantastic introduction to beautiful Sri Lanka. Thank you Elke and team we loved it!

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank devstef
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 February 2014

A perfect hideaway for yoga enthusiasts, beautifully designed and lovingly decorated by owner/architect Elke and husband, Niyagama House stands alone in a nine acre lush plantation. We began our stay in Sri Lanka at the tranquil and serene house, Galle.Tired and dishevelled we were welcomed by Elke at the entrance with refreshing and cool King Coconut drink. We were impressed that Elke spent quality time talking to us about the house, her love of yoga and of Sri Lanka. She later escorted us to The Ruby Room. The room was simple and elegant in its décor with the usual creature comforts, i.e. mini bar, safe, a/c, toiletries, laundry and WiFi. The bathroom was a combination of German fixtures/fittings and Sri Lanka design...Gorgeous!
A separate t.v. room has been designed for movie buffs and is located on the ground floor. There is a lovely library with open balcony on the first floor..Elke offers cooking classes, bicycle tours and yoga classes for all her guests. Please inquire about prices when you arrive.

We spent two restful nights sleeping in a luxurious four poster bed laden with high quality heavy mosquito net listening to wildlife and birds. As an early riser I decided to head up to the roof terrace to admire the views of the gardens, pool and plantation. Breakfast was super healthy with a large portion of a fresh fruit and was served on the terrace near the pool. We decided to order dinner both nights and had a selection of limited vegetarian dishes which were delicious, spicy and healthy. Our compliments to the chef.

All the employees we met were happy to assist and very attentive to all our needs and we must congratulate Elke for training her staff and for her first year in hospitality management. Thank you for making our stay unique, comfortable and for arranging our transport to Galle and Tangalle.

A few concerns and minor teething problems we would like to mention are; the lack of signs/signage to the house which were limited and few, we had a stressful time directing our driver, we hope this issue will be addressed soon. We also hope that staff will be given the opportunity to improve their language skills as instructions were misunderstood with our laundry request. As a health/yoga retreat it would be beneficial for the breakfast and dinner menus to cater for those who have specific dietary requirements i.e. lactose/lactase intolerance/t, diabetic, halal and gluten free dishes/recipes with a selection of bread (not the standard white) would be heaven. Room service would also be advantageous and appreciated as shopping centres, restaurants and convenience stores are extremely limited in the area. Galle is approximately 7.8km away. Food orders need to be cooked and served quickly as we waited over thirty minutes for our meals. We paid $165 per night and feel this was slightly on the expensive side for a guest house. If you desire a peaceful retreat away from the hustle and bustle of city life and an intimate yoga session with spectacular views of the Sri Lankan countryside then this is the place for you....

Elke's unique one to one time with guests really makes your stay feel special.
Thank you for the follow up email and photo of the birthday cake Elke. Much appreciated...

Driving in Sri Lanka can be a nightmare.The drive from Bandaranaike Airport - Galle (pronounced Gawl) took approximately four and half hours, thank goodness we had GPS as our driver was clueless. The Southern Expressway is brilliant, fast and modern. Be prepared for long tiring journeys everywhere else in Sri Lanka. We would recommend you ask to hire a large car/mini van/jeep with a/c and a trusted driver who speaks fluent English during the course of your stay. Taxi charges from the airport can vary so fix your price before you leave. Driving in Colombo and the interior is hairy at the best of times as much of Sri Lanka's roads are one lane so journeys can take twice as long. Always keep low denominations of Sri Lankan Rupees with you as local drivers rarely have change....Expect the unexpected!!! <3 Sri Lanka

Room Tip: All the rooms are lovely. For honeymooners we would recommend the Amethyst Room which is located at...
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  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Lil_Miss_Sunshine75
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 February 2014

Wonderful place perfectly located in the middle of a beautiful tea estate!!!! Everything is so nice that it is very difficult to leave... There is nothing to improve as everything is already perfect, the rooms, the swimming pool, the landscape, the staff; the food!!!!!! Thank you Elke!!!!!

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank agreestic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Niyagama House

Address: Niyagama | Akmeemana, Galle 80000, Sri Lanka
Region: Sri Lanka > Southern Province > Galle District > Galle
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 24 Hotels in Galle
Price Range: £111 - £197 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Niyagama House 4*
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Niyagama House is a retreat with seven luxury rooms in the middle of a tea plantation. Situated only 9 kilometer inland (a 20 minutes tuktuk drive) from the beaches at the Indian Ocean and the charming World Heritage Site Galle Fort, it is a perfect place for relaxation and rejuvenation. ... more   less 
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